Black Cake, a review by Di

posted in: Di | 0

Charmaine Wilkerson

Ballantine Books
February 1, 2022
385 pages

Goodreads | | Amazon

This a very complex story. It has many, many intricate layers. And, a huge cast of characters.

B and B (Benny and Byron), brother and sister, reunite after many years of being estranged, after their mother’s death. The lawyer plays a recording for them, their mother. The recording reveals things about their family that they could never imagine. It is a very long and detailed recording.

The setting goes from an unknown Caribbean island to England, briefly to Scotland and finally to the US. Most of it is told from the mother’s point of view. Of course, the required deep dark secret is a huge part of the story. And, this secret ends up having a profound effect on the next generation.

Many social issues are covered in the story. Parental abandonment, rape, racial issues, murder, unwed teen, LGBTQ and Black Lives Matter. Perhaps one or two could have been left out to simplify matters a little. But, then it wouldn’t be the same story.

Black cake is present throughout the book. It’s a complicated cake made for celebrations in the Caribbean community. It’s a cake that is a process. Soaking fruit for months in rum is the main component. Truthfully, I would love to try it.

I liked this book. But, because it was so complex, I had to stop many times to try to put everything in order in my mind. I can’t decide if the complexity is a problem or not. Sometimes, events in a person’s life can be very difficult for another to appreciate or understand. Another issue for me was the jumping back and forth in multiple timelines. I think that it affected the continuity of the story. But, even having said this, the story was so interesting and unique.

I loved the way the author tied up all the loose ends at the end of the book. There are several short chapters, focusing on each main character. It was very satisfying.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *